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When you see verbs connected by a dot in a text, such as "検査・判別する," what is the best way to interpret this? Normally when I come across examples like this I assume that the meaning is 'or', but recently I occassionally do formal legal translations, so I want to make sure that I'm getting the exact meaning of the term. Especially, I'm wondering if 'and/or' or 'and' are possible translations here.

For example, would "装置は表面欠陥を検査・判別する" mean "The device inspects or discriminates surface defects"? Or perhaps "The device inspects and/or discriminates surface defects"?

Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

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First, this type of dot is never used to describe an "exclusive or", i.e. "(strictly) either A or B". For example, "Go (either) right or forward" would be "右または前に進め", but not "右・前に進め".

Otherwise, you must choose wisely between "and", "or", and "and/or" on a case-by-case basis.

For example, you must use "and" in the following sentences:

  • 東京から名古屋・大阪・広島を経由して福岡に向かった。
  • 砂糖・牛乳・小麦粉を混ぜて生地を作ります。
  • 映画は脚本・絵コンテ・撮影というプロセスを経て作られる。

In your case, if you think that 検査 and 判別 are similar but different things, "or" would be fine. But if you think 検査 and 判別 are two steps of one process, "and" would be better. Personally, I think "and" is slightly more natural here because you cannot do 判別 without doing 検査. That is, the sentence is just a shorter version of 検査して判別する.

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  • Thank you! This basically answers my question.
    – Tzadeck
    May 31, 2023 at 7:16

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